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Energy Gels

andyfev's picture

By andyfev - Posted on 07 October 2013

I've been using energy gels for awhile now and always feel rubbish in my stomach during and after training. I'm even down to just one gel just before I hit the trails but still have a niggling stomach ache, though very dull. Anyhow, my main question is what is the alternative? I've been thinking about using natures (fruit, nuts etc) own but not sure which foods will give me what I need. Any advice out there would be appreciated. Cheers

[Mod. moved to Nutrition & Food]

GAZZA's picture

After a few unfinished races I discovered this myself.
I now use pure dextrose in my bottles with a bit of salt.
For gels ( I only take them when racing) I bought some refillable Gu bottles and make a thick mixture with a few other "secret" ingredients! Eye-wink
No more burping and full feeling when racing and all the energy gets absorbed instead of just sitting in my guts and making me feel like crap.
If you can't be bothered mixing your own and want som flavour then go get some Eload energy drink mix from The Fixed Wheel in Manly.

hawkeye's picture

Something to keep you going while you sort out the root cause that I find works well for a solid food option is white bread jam sandwiches.

Not quite as good for me as gels, as you need to keep your mouth wet, otherwise they stick to the roof of your mouth, but for energy uptake they're almost as good. That's regular white bread, not the high fibre type.

Unless you're wheat or gluten intolerant. Sad

Trying to juggle drinking and chewing/swallowing at race pace is tricky but on a training ride you can slow down if necessary.

Bananas are good too.

GAZZA's picture

I say gels for racing only.
It gets expensive and there's no nourishment in a gel.
Muesli bars on a training ride are good also.

MrSarcastic's picture

On training rides I normally use Pitted Dates or Dried Figs. They both have similar amounts of sugars/carbohydrates as gels and you can easily source them from the supermarket.

andyfev's picture

Thanks for the advice Gazza and Hawkeye... A mate who used to ride roadies many years ago swears by flat coke and honey sandwiches on white bread... Think I'll try this sort of combo with some high energy fruits and almond nuts

Meanwhile, what to do with all those Gels!!

Ps - Gazza, I'm chasing your Quarry Track hot lap time... Just so you know, if I ever post a quicker time than you rest assured it aint legit Eye-wink

andyfev's picture

Awesome info Squigs... Though I'd have to be careful not to overdo the Dates or I'll be having an other issue Eye-wink

GAZZA's picture

Good luck Mate,
Thought I might give it another blast soon to try and knock Minter from the top spot. The only thing stopping me is I know he'll come back and smash me into 2nd again!

obmal's picture

I tend to not use gels, I do carry a couple though as I have bonked on long rides before and keep them as an emergency back up to bring me back from the dead.

I use a couple scoops of hammer perpetuem in the bottles for any ride over two hours, and sometimes in my bottle for morning commuting if I know I wont be eating as soon as I get to work, the hammer choc chip bars are also great.. actually too nice and I tend to wind up eating them all as snacks while sitting on the couch.. doh!

sly_artichoke's picture

Have been using Hammer Perpetuem and their various bars for a couple of years now, both racing and training. I won't go back to gels due to a similar gurglin' guts syndrome. With the Perpetuem, it can be mixed to varying concentrations eg for my body mass, around 2 scoops per hour will fulfil all my food needs, so a ride or race that's looking around 4 hours, I'll make up an 8 scoop bottle, and sip that with a hydration pack for water. For longer rides, more than 8 scoops in a big bottle starts to get a bit thick, like pancake batter, so I'll have a bar or two to round out the supply.

I use the Orange Vanilla flavour. I prefer the US version which tastes less sweet than the locally sourced one. Get a small container initially and see how you go. It's not cheap, but then none of these "high performance" foods are.

Also, a trick for big rides, or a race - no breakfast. Or at least don't eat within 3 hours of the start. Sounds counterintuitive, but it does work. Your body is not trying to process all that food, and instead is concentrating on getting power to the pedals. Years gone by for say the Fling, I'd try to stuff myself with huge amounts of breakfast to sustain me, and all I achieved was a sluggish first couple of hours of burps and bloatedness.

Hammer have some good info on their website.

And no, I'm not sponsored by Hammer! Just love their products.

Barnsy's picture

Ive been using Perpetium for a month now as a bit of a trial to find something that I can stomach for long races and 4 hour plus training rides. Works well for me. I'll still use a Gu Roctaine if I need an extra hit but the Perpetium seems to keep the highs an lows at bay.

paulwhitfeld's picture

Coconut water is great!

interesting article:

I did a 3hour race recently and didn't use gels at all, my drinks companion refilled my bottle with cocnut water for every second lap and i felt great... kept me going strong... and no sugary fake tasting energy drink...

FYI it must be 100% coconut water, not the one with additives and sugar...

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